As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, new data from the Belize MIC Plus pilot show a changing landscape for preventing the disease in the two regions of Belize City South Side and Toledo. While more people began to feel at risk of contracting COVID-19 in the recent weeks, more felt at low risk. Nevertheless, people in these two regions feel more informed about the disease, and this has translated into using a diversity of methods to protect themselves. Overall, handwashing remains the top method to reduce infection, and more people are wearing face masks in public.
The disease has also taken an economic toll on the population, with about 2 in 5 households having lost their livelihood or job in the previous weeks. Importantly, women are more likely to have experienced such a loss than men. During this phase of the epidemic in Belize, the national government has taken numerous steps to protect the population from the disease. Overall, the MICS Plus pilot data show strong support for government policies. Nearly 9 in 10 households agree with the policy of closing schools and universities while about 3 in 4 agreed with restricting business hours.
These data are from a small-scale pilot project of MICS Plus. The sample is from a representative household survey wherein respondents were asked to participate in MICS Plus and who provided phone numbers for follow-up. While the overall sample sizes are small, overall trends may be most useful in interpreting these data.